Brontë Studies: Material Culture

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Brontë Studies

Inspired by the Brontë Parsonage Museum’s 2022 exhibition Defying Expectations: Inside Charlotte Brontë’s Wardrobe, Brontë Studies invites new and original articles for a Special Issue devoted to the Brontës and material culture. The exhibition, co-created with historical consultant Dr Eleanor Houghton, featured more than twenty pieces of Charlotte’s clothing and accessories and offered intimate insight into both her domestic and literary lives.

Material culture is a broad term covering all aspects of the material world, and material culture studies seeks to understand societies, both past and present, through careful examination and observation of the physical or material objects generated by those societies (including clothing and textiles, household goods, buildings, books, periodicals, photographs, paintings, ornaments, etc.). Studying the physical objects of a culture gives us a better understanding of and appreciation for the complex lives of the people who interacted with those objects. 

Deborah Lutz’s 2015 book The Brontë Cabinet is a brilliant example of this approach – she illuminates the complex and fascinating lives of the Brontës through the things that they wore, stitched, wrote on, and inscribed. In this spirit, we invite papers that explore and analyse the material culture of the Brontës. The papers may examine, but need not be limited to, the subjects listed below:

  • Women as consumers and the culture of consumption
  • The Victorian home and domesticity
  • Archiving material culture
  • The Empire and commodities
  • Representation of objects in literature
  • Material culture and friendship
  • Clothing and jewellery
  • Items owned by the Brontës 

 Brontë Studies is interested in cohering a range of perspectives on the Brontës and material culture and welcomes relevant articles connected to the topic but not covered in the areas outlined above.

 Please submit articles of no more than 7,500 words via the journal’s submission portal, ScholarOne, by 1 September 2023. Articles should follow the journal’s ‘Instructions for Authors’ guidance and adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style's author-date system. As per the journal’s policy, all articles will be subject to double-blind peer review.

The Special Issue will be published in 2024.

The guest edtor for the special issue is Professor Deborah Wynne, but if you have any questions about the above, please direct them to Dr Sarah Fanning and Dr Claire O'Callaghan, the journal's editors, via

We look forward to receiving any queries and reading your submissions.